The performances that were created by my peers on the 4th of February really impressed. I found motivation through the range of works offered. All of the class were given very similar instructions on the week prior through which we had to create a solo performance, yet the diverse products of these instructions were striking. From an exploration of folklore to a thought of images as sound, and from an exploration of human development as earth, wood, and glass to an observation of museum-goers; the variety of works was influential.
It was during the viewing of these pieces that I became less apprehensive about my work in the Site-Specific module, as it hit me that art is subjective. However one interprets a task to create a performance is neither right or wrong, it is a matter of opinion. The performance itself is neither right or wrong. It is material brought into existence. It is a creation. A product that did not exist in the moment before. A product that will not exist in the moment after. It is momentary, transitory. It is art. It is performance.
This notion of performance as momentary is one that Aylwyn discussed in the seminar. Aylwyn’s delivery of The Many Headed Monster by Joshua Sofaer (Sofaer, 2015, lecture), made me aware of something that I had previously not considered. I realised the importance of the audience’s impressions of the work. I became aware of pre-performance. One work cited was Kidnap by Blast Theory, a work where advertisements were shown, and the participants, having a full understanding of the work, chose whether to take part (Blast Theory, 1998). It was their choice, and their signing of the disclaimer held them to their decision. Blast Theory’s calculated decision to have an informed participant is a significant one, as the lecture noted that the participant’s knowledge changes the psychology of the performance; the subject is no longer a passive spectator, but rather an active participant.
“Our impression of the work becomes the work itself” (Sofaer, 2015, lecture)
Even more so than pre-performance, I was drawn to the idea of performance itself being ephemeral. A work I had known previously to the class, Marina Abramovic and Ulay’s Imponderabilia typifies this notion (Abramovic and Ulay, 1977). The immediacy of the performance was something I never considered. It happens in a moment, with no prior expectations. It is a surprise for the participant, so surprising in fact that their participation in the piece borders on the subconscious. The choice of which naked figure they face has no time to be premeditated. This spontaneity is an area I find compelling, a territory of art that has much to offer.
Abramovic, M, and Ulay. (1977) Imponderabilia. [performance art] Bologna, Italy: Galleria Communale d’Arte Moderna.
Blast Theory (1998) Kidnap. [performance art] England and Wales, 15 May – 17 July.
Sofaer, J. by Walsh, A. (2015) The Many Headed Monster. [lecture] Site Specific Performance DRA2035M-1415, University of Lincoln, 4 February.
Picture from: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-F6CcYFxGaZg/UeS-Svxve7I/AAAAAAAADM8/eh3qCet_5Uc/s1600/abramovic_imponderabilia.jpg